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I think it’s a bit more complex than that… Yes, prices haven’t gone up that much in general, compared to other type of entertainment media or products in general, and yes I’m sure a lot of game productions costs have gone up substantially, however the market is soooo different than it was in the 80’s and 90’s that it’s very hard to compare. These days A LOT more people have consoles at home, and the internet has allowed for mass distribution on a scale that wasn’t imaginable back then.

For exemple, in the 90’s everyone I knew got pirated copies of games (for PC that is) EVERYONE including me. These days, I’m faily sure PC games do a lot better thanks to Steam and the massive sales you can find in there and other sites now. Pirating is a pain in the ass, always has been, but if you price a thing at an acceptable level (even if people have to wait) they’ll rather buy it than pirate it, and in the end, it results in more revenue for the companies. In terms of consoles, it was obviously much harder to pirate, but I remember when I was young, only about 1 in 30 boys I knew (maybe even less) had a console at home. These days it seems everyone does… hell you can even play games on your phone =/

The landscape is so different that it’s hard to compare and judge it that way.

Anyways, micro-transactions are not inherently wrong, obviously, but some practises involving them are. But hey, it’s all about the market… in the end, if people fall for it and buy the product, the companies will continue doing it.


Let’s unpack all this, as there’s quite a few strands.

On its own, a microtransaction can work fine - it’s easier to persuade someone to spend £1.50 than £50. The bigger question is what does the transaction get you and what is the effect on the game? Especially if it is a multiplayer game? This is where one issue has come up - instead of having a level playing field, the new structures allow people to gain an advantage by simply paying for it.

Pay to win on a single player game? OK, if that’s the way you want to go, fine, but multiplayer? That seems off.

If a microtransaction is seen as an optional extra, something that doesn’t have to be bought, then it works OK - you don’t like it, don’t buy it. What both Gamespot and Polygon have objected to is Shadow of War’s structure is tilted towards requiring you to go the microtransaction route, unless you prefer to spend a long, long time avoiding it, at least if you want to get to the game’s absolute ending. That’s new. It’s also really cynical and a big step up from previous completionist challenges like avoid 200 lightning bolts or find 200 feathers. The companies know gamers have completionist tendencies, so this cynically exploits that.

Then there’s the Loot Crate concept - pay £5 or whatever to get a box of undetermined content you can only see what you’ve actually got, after purchase. In this structure, microtransaction is simply the mechanism for buying loot boxes. The problem is that this is basically gambling.

This is the big problem. The gambling industry is heavily regulated and can’t go for kids, games can simply calling their system ‘loot box’. Eventually, the law will catch up but what happens in the interim?

The upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront II has set up its progression system in the game as being entirely via loot boxes! You can find YouTube commentary making the case very effectively that this is a stupid idea. Its crassly commercial on a game that, like Shadow of War, did not need it. Both games were guaranteed to make a crapload of cash, it’s naked corporate greed.

In a game like Horizon: Zero Dawn, where quest rewards are loot boxes that give a random set of resources to help you with the game’s crafting system, that works very, very well. The big difference is that I’m not paying actual money for them.


Dave Jenkins of GameCentral has a good rail against Loot Boxes today.

I blame those stupid subscription box services like Nerd Block and Loot Crate, for building up this idea that paying money for an unspecified array of stuff that you may or may not like/want is somehow a great idea.


That was happening long before loot crate & the likes, in fact they probably got inspired from the RNG chests and cases from games… You should probably blame games like TF2, DOTA, CS, LoL, etc…

I don’t think Loot Crate & co. are a bad thing actually (for people with disposeable income, that is), because it’s very different… it’s a physical thing, first of all, and everyone gets the same stuff, there’s no randomness, there’s just “trust” involved that they’ll put some good stuff in it.


Sure, but you don’t know what you’re getting, so it’s a still a gamble. It’s predicated on the idea that the thrill of the surprise is a significant part of the appeal.


When I played LoL years ago they didn’t have a loot box based system. You bought the specific Champion or Champion Skin you wanted and didn’t have to gamble for it.


Hum… yes but no… I mean, it’s somewhat of a gamble, sure, but you do know that you’re getting some “cool” collectibles of whichever theme is next. I get what you’re saying, but there’s really little comparaison between those 2 things.

Oh ok, I just said LoL cause it’s one of the names I know, they might not use that system… I should’ve just said MOBAs =P


And that’s Ye Olde Capitalism - see item wanted, buy item, job done.

Not, pay to open loot box of undetermined goods in order to hope you get the item you wanted and if not? Buy again.


I agree with everyone that loot boxes are not ok, and problematic because they prey on a specific type of person and take advantage of them especially.

In the end, not all microtransacitons are created equal, and shouldn’t be blanketed as a bad thing. It’s reasonable and makes sense in many circumstances, but abused and flat out insulting in other instances.


Let’s go to something far more positive, this is looking very, very good:

EDIT: Nor is this the only big expansion we’re getting this year.

Just spotted that Steep is getting an Olympics-themed expansion that is due Dece 5. It’s RRP $29.99, but adds South Korea and Japan to the map. Now that is not going to be cheap but sounds massive. The last mountain added, Alaska, was huge and was done for free. So, two mountains, plus new challenges and, it looks like, modes / sports is a decent expansion package.


Wow, it finally happened:

Now, who’s going to preorder Wolfenstein II to really piss these wastes o’ space off?


No sign of them in the online store just now but I am interested in trying Psychonauts and replaying Black (which I had on the PS2). Be interesting to see how digital copies are priced vs 2nd hand copies of the original discs.


So sky high?


This isn’t news, but interesting. A translated article from 1995 about the Famicom Disk Reader.

I never knew that the original concept was to use smart cards (like a Sky viewing card or a phone SIM) to put games on, instead of (sort of ) floppy disks.


The Luddite side of me says, “Well, duh!”. The Grumpy Old Man side of me says, “Serves the brats right” :wink: Either way, parents probably need to be aware of this:


This looks amazing. I mean, I know it’s the kind of thing I’d buy, use twice and then leave to gather dust, but still.


15 hour DLC

Looks awesome:


If anyone was curious about how the System Shock Reboot is going:


Ever wanted to see Hellboy fight Raphael?

Now you can:


“Yes, dudes and dudettes, major league butt kicking’s back in town!”